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Lawrence Co. plans search for community developer

MONTICELLO — The search to find a replacement for thewell-respected former Lawrence County Community Developmentdirector has barely begun, according to officials.

Paul McLain resigned from the office Nov. 7, got married andmoved to Harrison, Ark.

LCCDA Clerk Karen Jolly Hill was named as interim director. Shehas a bachelor’s degree in business administration from MississippiCollege.

Martha Watts, a member of the LCCDA board of directors, saidHill was offered the post, but decided “she’s comfortable where sheis. That’s one thing we were waiting on (before beginning thesearch in earnest.”

Watts said the board wanted to reevaluate and rewrite the jobdescription before advertising it. McLain was in the office foreight years and a lot has changed since then, she said.

“We’re going to discuss advertising for the position at ourJanuary meeting,” she said. “I know there’s a lot of talent outthere.”

Watts said she expects the application process to last from fourto eight weeks, but that the board has not put a deadline on it.They do intend to have a narrowed list by March or April,however.

“We’ve prepared Karen to step up and hold it all together forabout six months if that’s what it takes,” she said. “We don’t wantto make a hasty decision.

“It will be impossible to find another Paul McLain. Paul was adream come true because he was from here and knew the county,” sheadded. “He had connections here, and with his prior work experiencehe had extensive connections outside the area. He’ll be hard toreplace, but I think we’ll have a good shot at what we need.”

The board of supervisors and the LCCDA board have madeinquiries, she said, and they are receiving help from othercommunity development directors and organizations.

With Hill at the helm, Watts said, the board does not see apressing need to find a replacement and can shop for what theyneed.

“Things are going smoothly now,” she said. “Karen is doing anexcellent job.”

A part-time LCCDA employee, who has been with the office fornearly a year, is substituting in Hill’s place when she needs totravel or attend out-of-town meetings, Watts said, so the office isstaying open as normal.